Laws, Regulation, and Policy

Health IT Legislation

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) work on health IT is authorized by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

The HITECH Act established ONC in law and provides the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with the authority to establish programs to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health IT, including electronic health records (EHRs) and private and secure electronic health information exchange.

ONC is now implementing several provisions of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law in December 2016. 

Other legislation related to ONC’s work includes Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) the Affordable Care Act, and the FDA Safety and Innovation Act.

Health IT Regulations

ONC authors regulations that set the standards and certification criteria EHRs must meet to assure health care professionals and hospitals that the systems they adopt are capable of performing certain functions. The ONC HIT Certification Program also supports the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, which provide financial incentives for “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology.

ONC also provides regulatory resources, including FAQs and links to other health IT regulations that relate to ONC’s work.